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Are there different types of dementia?

The term dementia covers various diseases that affect cognition, memory, and concentration. Dementia causes a worsening of symptoms as time progresses and is currently incurable. However, Ventura Neuroscience Center's expert neurologists offer the most effective treatments to delay the disease's advancement.

The most common forms of dementia include:

  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Lewy body dementia
  • Vascular dementia
  • Frontotemporal disorders

These conditions contribute to steadily declining health, usually in later life. Certain other conditions, like hypothyroidism, depression, and kidney disease, can also cause forms of dementia, but these don't persist in the same way.

What symptoms might dementia cause?

Memory loss is one of the most common symptoms of dementia. Other possible symptoms include:

  • Confusion and disorientation
  • A lack of motor function coordination
  • Problems communicating
  • Difficulties with problem-solving
  • Being unable to plan and organize as you used to
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Personality changes
  • Inappropriate behaviors
  • Anger and agitation
  • Paranoia and delusions

To begin with, dementia causes relatively mild symptoms, but these inevitably get worse with time. In the later stages of dementia, you might develop such serious issues that you need comprehensive, often specialized care.

How is dementia diagnosed?

Your provider at Ventura Neuroscience Center can determine if you have dementia after performing a physical examination, looking at your medical history and current symptoms, and taking you through some cognitive tests.

These tests typically consist of a series of questions highlighting problems that indicate dementia. You might also need to undergo lab tests or diagnostic imaging tests to rule out other possible causes of your symptoms.

It's important to understand that having difficulties with your memory doesn't necessarily mean you have dementia. While it's worrying to feel as though you're having trouble with your memory, a degree of difficulty is a normal part of aging.

What treatments can help with dementia?

The dementia treatments your provider at Ventura Neuroscience Center recommends often focus on slowing down the progress of the disease and relieving symptoms as much as possible.

Medications called cholinesterase inhibitors can help with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease and may be useful for other types of dementia. N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor (NMDA) antagonists are another type of drug that can help treat the symptoms of moderate to severe Alzheimer's.

If you have vascular dementia, your provider includes medications that lower your blood pressure and cholesterol to promote better blood vessel health. Another medication, aducanumab, helps reduce functional and cognitive decline in early Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloids (a type of abnormal protein) from your brain.